Do you use essential oils? If so, are you using them right? Did you know that some essential oils are meant strictly for external use and are not supposed to be ingested? In fact many can be dangerous if ingested.
So if you are an essential oil lover but maybe haven’t received the proper education on which oils should not be ingested, Dr. Z has cleared this up in his recent post has post on his website ad drericz.com:
“Ingesting Essential Oils: Are They Safe for Internal Use or Not?
What to you think? Is ingesting essential oils safe? It should be no surprise that scientific research and traditional aromatherapy agree on their answers.
I’m not sure how it exactly happened, but somehow misguided people started to instill fear into essential oils users that these precious compounds are unsafe for internal use. I say “misguided” in the deepest respect, as I understand that we all have differing opinions, and I know that I’m going to get a lot of “love mail” for this post – hate mail sounds too ugly, doesn’t it? ?
With that said, the more I learn about them, ingesting essential oils is not a common practice for me and my family. I still enjoy a drop of lemon in a 32 ounce glass liter of sparkling water with some liquid stevia as my special soda pop, but that’s about it unless I’m battling some specific health condition. It has taken me a year of research & study and literally hundreds (if not thousands) of hours to get to this “revelation.”
In this article, you will learn:
- The Great Aromatherapy Debate
- Do’s & Don’ts
- Aromatherapy 101
- How Essential Oils are Used
- Tips for Ingesting Essential Oils
- FDA Approved GRAS Essential Oils
The Great Aromatherapy Debate
I regularly get questions from people asking me about ingesting essential oils and I now understand why there’s so much confusion. One myth breeds more myths. Innocent uncertainty breeds more uncertainty. And the vicious cycle continues.
The fact remains that there are no scientific, evidence-based, anatomical, physiological or logical reasons to say that essentials oils are unsafe for human consumption. Paradoxically, aromatherapists are still at odds with each other on this point, which confuses the casual essential oil user all the more. With that said, rest assured that large professional organizations like National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) support safe, internal use.
In the words of NAHA, “Essential oils may be applied on the skin (dermal application), inhaled, diffused or taken internally. Each of these methods have safety issues which need to be considered.” (1) And this makes complete sense to me. Like anything we can easily overdo it, and we must remember a little goes a long way with regard to essential oils – especially internal use! We can also find several local and online schools that will certify you as an aromatherapist and learn how to practice safe, internal use.
The Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy is one organization in particular that I have strongly aligned myself with as it is the oldest aromatherapy school continually run by a practicing aromatherapist. Their founder, Sylla Sheppard-Hanger, has over 40 years of client-based experience, and has been teaching classes in aromatherapy since 1985. The bottom line is that when an organization like this includes ingesting essential oils guidelines in their curriculum – with hundreds of case studies to support their recommendations – people should stop for a second a listen, don’t you agree?
And let’s not forget what the universally acclaimed text, Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals, repeatedly refers to “maximum oral dose” in relation to ingesting essential oils safely and effectively.
The thing that really throws me through a loop regarding people who speak out against ingesting essential oils is that they are in direct opposition of the dozens of human studies in the scientific literature and completely disregard the Food and Drug Administration. Yes, you read that correctly! According to the FDA, ingesting essential oils is safe for human consumption as flavor ingredients. For the exhaustive FDA-approved list of Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) oils see below. (2)
Note: not all oils that are safe for ingestion are included in the FDA-approved GRAS list. I recommend that we use this list as a base point to start the conversation about what is and what is not safe because it all boils down to dosage.
Ingesting Essential Oils: Do’s and Don’ts
Before I dive into some of the ways that ingesting essential oils can be done safely, there some “housekeeping” items we need to discuss. Here are some do’s and don’ts.
- Inhale essential oils in a diffuser, inhaler, spritzer and other fun ways.
- Add essential oils in your daily body care regimen.
- Be careful – and learn the basics. My Aromatherapy 101 article will help.
- Enjoy the good things in life! There’s nothing like one drop of lemon or orange oil in a 32 ounce glass liter of sparkling water with some liquid stevia as a special soda pop treat.
- Have fun & be empowered! Using essential oils and other natural therapies is a life-changing experience for most people and remember to enjoy the journey as you learn all about them!
Daily Do Not’s:
- Consume essential oils for “prevention.” This is wasteful and dangerous, and I was a victim of the take-a-drop-of-essential-oil under your tongue (or in your water) everyday myth until I irritated my esophagus and developed acid reflux! The more I learn about EOs, the less I consume them – only for specific health conditions, or my special soda. ? And, no, it doesn’t matter how “pure” or “therapeutic” they are. Daily consumption is NOT the most effective (and medicinal) way to use them, and it has taken me 3 years of trial & error (lots of error) and literally hundreds (if not thousands) of research hours to get to this “revelation.” So, please learn from my mistakes! ?
- Think that each health condition within a specific body system should be approached the same way. Meaning this: even though peppermint is great for IBS and nausea, it should not be used for GERD. The University of Maryland Medical Center specifically warns that peppermint tea and essential oil can relax the esophageal sphincter and pose risks for those with reflux.
- Believe that “there is an oil for that.” Essential oils have changed my life so much that I have devoted much of my personal and profession lives to sharing the message that they are truly God’s Medicine. Seriously, I’m the “oil” guy and I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to be featured on countless health summits, conferences and documentaries. Yet, let’s be real. Like anything, essential oils are limited by what they can and we should not fall into the trap that they are the end-all cure because misguided hope will disappoint.
Ok, now that we’ve cleaned house, let’s get to work…”
The rest of the article, Dr. Z provides some general aromatherapy 101 and then goes on to provide tips you will want to know when it comes to ingesting essential oils.
To finish reading the rest of this article, go over to his website to read the post at drericz.com
Photo By Kejohnson0319